The Texas Monthly has now made available without subscription the controversial story in their September issue, "Badges of Dishonor." The story reports on two Border Patrol agents who shot 15-rounds at a fleeing migrant, hitting him in the back. It wasn't until after they caught up with him that they discovered that the migrant was carrying marijuana but they attempted to use this fact to justify their criminal abuse of police authority. The two agents received prison sentences.
The controversy was already a hot one but when Texas Monthly took a stand in favor of the sentencing of the Border Patrol Agents, the conservatively righteous among us attacked the TM staff. Currently, the writers are receiving a cache of overwhelmingly negative hate mail stating sundry opinions, many of which assert that the agents are heroes for shooting the "illegal immigrant." According to Texas Monthly, one writer opined that ALL migrants should be shot, especially "drug mules" bringing marijuana into the States.
I wish to take a stand with the Texas Monthly writers. An individual "mule" who is smuggling marijuana does not deserve to be shot in the back while fleeing. This is criminal abuse of the authority invested in such public servants.
While I do not support the use of marijuana, neither do I support the use of alcohol or nicotine, both legal and both causing far more social problems than marijuana. Though demonized in the press, "weed" has never been documented as a drug of overdose or one to cause any deaths whatsoever as a result of use; whereas, alcohol is a major cause of death and nicotine alone is responsible for 430,000 deaths a year.
A migrant especially does not deserve such an egregiously murderous response for being an "illegal." What are we coming to as a nation when we get so caught up in racism and ethnocentric "patriotism" that a human life has less value than a political issue?
In fact, this is a political issue that is being created vis-a-vis the Republican Party Southern Strategy of racism in order to drive a wedge between progressive/liberal minded citizens and the notoriously bigoted conservatives of the South, Midwest and Southwest who would normally vote Democratic but who served as the Bush Administration's electoral base in 2000 and 2004, having been whipped into an artificial fervor over Gay Marriage and other Civil Rights issues. Previous to their Machiavellian manipulation by Karl Rove, Reagan's own dirty trickster and trick-master to Rove, Grover Norquest, exploited covert racism in the south, effecting the movement into the Republican Party of the former Dixicrats and conservative Democrats who supported notoriously racist George Wallace of Alabama.
Some people would still vote against their own economic interests in order to express their hatred. The faux-immigration issue promises to divide us once again in 2008. Look for the swift-boating of Latinos by Republican campaign wonks to steadily increase in the coming months.
Who else stands to gain by this murderous, hate-filled Latino Redux of the Republican Southern Strategy? Minutemen.